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Clients Who Lie - Part 1

By Victor Antonio, Sales Influence

I've decided to dedicate the next blog posts to discussing the art of lying. More specifically, the art of lying as it pertains to our clients. Every salesperson should study the art of lying. Why? Think of it in terms of time management. The better you are at detecting clients who are lying, the faster you'll be able to qualify whether or not they're going to buy from.

In selling, part of our job as sales professionals is to detect deceit in order to further our chances of closing a sale. For example, if a client says, 'We don't have that type of budget for what you're proposing.', I need to know if the statement is true or false (i.e., misleading).

At times it may be true that the client doesn't have the budget. But to be absolutely sure I would follow-up with a more precise question and ask if the budget might be available in another month (or year). What I've just done is to re-contextualized the question. Instead of asking if they had the budget today, I'm asking if the statement was a statement of the moment or could it change in the future (i.e., a budget be available in another month or year).

A client who lies has three options: concealment, falsification or misleading. Using the above example, here are three possible scenarios.

Concealment: The client conveniently forgets to mention that the project you're discussing has been dumped by the main decision-maker regardless of cost

Falsification: The client tells you there is no budget, today or a year from now, for the project being discussed

Mis-leading: The client doesn't tell you that although there is no budget today, a new round of budgets will be approved next month.

It has been my experience that clients will use concealment and mis-leading more often then they would falsification. The reason? The fear of being caught or the more formal name, apprehension detection. Concealment and misleading have more 'wiggle room' if the liar is confronted with the truth.

A true liar will use all three of the above tactics to conceal the truth from the salesperson. The motives for lying can vary from (a) we've already selected another company to (z) I don't like your company and I will never buy from you. Whatever the motive, the liar purposely lies to the salesperson and feels little if an remorse at all about doing so.

That said, we have salespeople have to become human polygraph machines. Although we won't be able to calculate the sweatiness factor, respiratory change or increased blood pressure of a client who lies, there are other ways of detecting whether or not they're lying.

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Victor Antonio, Sales Influence

Copyright © 2010 by Victor Antonio. All rights reserved. Author, speaker and sales trainer Victor Antonio has a BSEE, MBA and over 20 years of executive sales experience. This post MAY be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, as long as the author’s name, website and email address are included as part of the article’s body. All inquiries, including information on electronic licensing, should be directed to Victor Antonio at info@victorantonio.com..

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